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What is 925 Gold?
Is it Worth Anything?

925 Gold Jewelry: What You Need to Know

A piece of jewelry isn’t merely an accessory. Jewelry can also be an investment. Thus, you want to be certain the price of any piece you’re buying is an accurate reflection of its genuine value.

There are many ways to assess a piece of jewelry’s value. You should buy from reputable sellers and coordinate with experts if you’re not familiar with them.

However, there are certain basic steps you can take on your own to get a sense of how much a piece of jewelry is worth. Checking for certain hallmarks is one.

You simply also need to understand what those hallmarks mean. For example, you might find a piece of gold jewelry with “925” (often appearing as “.925” or “925.”) stamped on it. If so, this guide will explain what that particular hallmark indicates, and whether you should buy a piece of gold jewelry featuring it.

What Does 925 Mean For Jewelry?

The 925 hallmark is actually used primarily on sterling silver jewelry. It indicates that the material’s composition is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. This means it’s both fairly malleable and bright.

However, some people assume that when a piece of gold jewelry features this hallmark, it means the piece has a gold content of 92.5%. This is not the case. In fact, 92.5% is not a recognized value for gold. If you find a piece of gold jewelry with 925 or some variation stamped on it, odds are very good the piece isn’t solid gold. It’s instead likely the piece’s base is sterling silver and gold has been plated or otherwise applied atop the base.

925 Gold Search Results on Etsy

Above is an example of "925 Gold" search results on Etsy. Note that while the title itself speaks of 925 Gold Necklaces - the items in the results speak of 925 Sterling or 14 karat or 18 karat gold plated necklaces (compared to actual 14 karat or 18 karat gold necklaces)

Is 925 Gold Worth Anything?

That depends. Again, “925 gold” doesn’t actually exist. This hallmark only indicates the purity of the sterling silver base beneath the gold.

Knowing this, you should be aware that gold jewelry with a 925 hallmark or stamp is typically going to be less valuable than solid gold jewelry. You want to keep this in mind if you’re buying jewelry as an investment.

However, some types of gold-plated jewelry are nevertheless more valuable than others. This is partially due to the fact that different types of gold-plated jewelry can have different bases. The thickness of the layer of gold atop the base can also vary from one piece to another.

For example, if a piece of gold jewelry isn’t solid but also doesn’t have the 925 hallmark, that may indicate that the base is made of copper, brass, or nickel. This makes it less valuable than a piece with a sterling silver base. Additionally, if your skin comes into contact with these materials (which could occur if a thin gold base wears down over time), you may have an allergic reaction. As such, if you’re buying gold-plated jewelry, you might make a point of looking for a piece with the 925 hallmark.

What Does the ‘925 Italy’ Hallmark Mean?

Some pieces of gold jewelry feature a hallmark reading “925 Italy.” This doesn’t mean anything particularly important for most jewelry buyers. “925 Italy” gold jewelry hallmarks simply indicate that a piece was made in Italy. Technically, though, it still consists of a sterling silver base with gold on top of it.

What other 925 hallmarks should I be aware of?

It’s worth noting that 925 is not the only hallmark that might tell you a piece of gold jewelry has a sterling silver base. Other hallmarks that essentially mean the same thing include STER, STG, STERLING, or Sterling Silver. You might also look for these when buying a piece.

What Are the Benefits of 925 Gold Jewelry?

Again, if a piece of jewelry has a 925 hallmark stamp on it, you can be fairly confident it’s not solid gold. However, the appearance of authentic 925 gold jewelry is often very similar to that of solid gold. Most people can’t tell the difference.

This might give you reason to buy a piece with the 925 hallmark instead of buying a solid gold piece. Once more, its value won’t be as great, but that might not matter to you if you have no plans to sell your jewelry in the future. If you only care about a piece of jewelry’s appearance, but you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy something that consists of solid gold, a piece with the 925 hallmark may be an acceptable substitute. It will typically cost less but look remarkably similar to the “real thing.”

Remember, allergies might also be a concern. If you’re allergic to materials sometimes used as bases for gold-plated jewelry, naturally, you won’t be able to wear a piece made with those materials once the base has worn down a little. Because gold-plated jewelry with such bases also doesn’t tend to be valuable, you won’t be able to sell such a piece for much money either, making it essentially useless to you. Jewelry with the 925 hallmark, on the other hand, likely won’t cause an allergic reaction and will be more valuable.

What Other Factors Should I Consider?

It must be reiterated that there are many factors which may contribute to the value of any piece of gold jewelry. This guide explained the basic relevance of the 925 hallmark, but that’s by no means the only factor worth learning more about.

For example, while the 925 hallmark does tell you valuable information about the base of a piece of gold jewelry, it doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the purity of the gold or the thickness of the plating. Because 925 jewelry often tends to qualify as gold vermeil jewelry, there’s a good chance the plating is fairly thick, as the law requires a thickness of 2.5 microns for jewelry to qualify as gold vermeil, but that’s not guaranteed.

This simply once again highlights the value of buying from reputable dealers and working with experts if you want to know you’re purchasing something of value when buying a piece of jewelry. Taking the time to research your options will yield major benefits in the long run.